Thursday, March 31, 2011

With the Click of a Mouse

By Teresa Rende, Education and Community Engagement Assistant

As the internet continues to expand in new, innovative ways, we find ourselves faced with more opportunities for knowledge than time wasting. While I have enjoyed my fair share of hilarious videos involving cats, I am less drawn to internet time wasters as the ways we can learn on the web become more exciting. As a theater artist, I am always intrigued when another arts institution finds a way to connect me with their work via the tubes. And as educational and arts based resources available grows, I find myself with less time to Google “funny cat videos,” and instead a far greater knowledge of theater, visual art and music.

One of these amazing recent innovations is Google’s Art Project. Google Art Project allows you to virtually visit art museums around the globe. Seventeen partner museums are currently enrolled in the project, offering high quality images of the art online alongside the categorical information for each piece. Visitors can peruse collections by selecting the artwork, or by navigating through the museum using Google’s street view technology. You can even make your own collection to share with friends and family. Associated content and YouTube videos about the work or artist are offered as you explore online. While we cannot all visit the Netherlands or Germany on a regular basis to see these great works in person, Google Art Project brings us closer to that experience.

Right here in Chicago, our own Art Institute steps up to the plate with their “Impressionism App.” For only $3.99 you can put the Institute’s catalog of Impressionist work on your iPhone or Android device ($5.99 for your iPad). As they describe it on their website, “Based on the scholarly catalog The Age of French Impressionism by curators Douglas Druick and Gloria Groom, this searchable digital version offers detailed information and zoomable illustrations of over 100 works of art, artist biographies, panoramic views of the Impressionist galleries, and a history of Impressionism and Chicago.”

Apps and online museum viewing are only a couple ways in which arts organizations can reach the public. Increasingly, arts organizations have pages on Facebook, accounts on Twitter, photos on Flickr, or even blogs (like the one you’re reading right now). If you didn’t know, Goodman offers access to theater educational materials and behind-the-scenes videos online, while also communicating with patrons new and old via Twitter and Facebook.

Do you know of any amazing arts organizations online? Or have any great ideas for new and intriguing resources on the Goodman’s site?

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